The Blue Lotus
by Marisa Chenery, paranormal (2007)
Liquid Silver Books, $5.95, ISBN 978-1-59578-379-0


From the first page of The Blue Lotus, I can tell that this is Marisa Chenery's debut published effort. I don't know why her editor lets her get away with it, but Ms Chenery writes in a style best described as too much information dumping. The following are the first five paragraphs of the story:

Wiping the sweat-dampened hair from her eyes Kendra Miller cursed the rush hour traffic on busy Beale Street. Being stuck in traffic, in a car with no air conditioning during a hot Memphis summer day, was far from being pleasurable. Having just left the art gallery on Beale where she worked as a receptionist, Kendra now headed for home after a long day.

Finally breaking free of the heavy traffic, she felt some of the tension leave her body. Though she did this drive day after day, she still hated having to drive at a snail's pace in the busy downtown.

Pulling into the drive of her modest two-story house, Kendra parked her car then made her way to the front door. Before she unlocked the door she flipped open the lid of her mailbox. Grabbing the collection of envelopes, with a mix of junk mail, she let herself into the house.

With a shove on the door, Kendra closed it behind her, kicked off her high-heeled shoes and began going through her mail. There were the usual bills, but one heavier envelope stood out from among the rest. Throwing the others on the small side table in the entrance hallway, Kendra wondered who had sent her this one. Spying the return address, a smile spread across her lips. What could her brother be sending her this time?

Markus was two years her senior, twenty-six to her twenty-four, and was the world traveler of the family. Somehow, he managed to make a career out of it. At each of his destinations, he would search out items of interest and buy them. When he returned home to Memphis, he would sell them to shops that dealt in such things. Sometimes Markus would send her a present if he were going to be away for an extended period, which was the case this time. He was away on his annual trip to Egypt.

See what I mean? In the above five paragraphs alone, Ms Chenery has done enough telling for her next five books. Some of the information turns out to be trivial while the others could have been better delivered in other ways lumped together under "showing" in author-speak.

Then there are some purple-hued weirdness going on when it comes to describing the heroine's various reaction under erotic stimuli. My favorite is this one.

Her breasts swelled, begging to be touched.

Inflatable breasts, anyone?

Oh yes, the story. Our heroine Kendra receives a gold pendant with a blue lotus flower on it (hence the title of this book) from her brother. After fiddling with it and translating some hieroglyphics on the pendant, she ends up summoning our hero, Nefertem. He claims that since she has summoned him, he will now "serve" her. However, things will go out of hand soon enough until Nefertem's mother threatens to show up and smack everybody. No, really.

Kendra is surprisingly calm and accepting of Nefertem's presence, even more so when I take into account that she's taking him out to buy clothes for him when she doesn't know what he really is.

But the plot doesn't really matter when the author's technical weaknesses are all over the book from page one to last. I find it hard to get into the amateurish writing. I have an even harder time taking this story or the author seriously as a result. Of course, inexperience is not an unforgivable sin as the author can always improve in the future. However, that doesn't change the embarrassing fact that The Blue Lotus isn't ready for publication in its current condition.

Rating: 49


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